R.I.P. Paul Wellstone, 1944-2002

Paul Wellstone, Minnesota's outspoken progressive senator died in a plane crash Friday along with his wife and daughter. I found out yesterday at work, after a meeting. One of my coworkers was listening to streaming radio. He said, "Some woman thinks the Green Party killed Wellstone." I replied, "Pttff! Why?" That's when I found out he'd been killed.

I was unable to concentrate at work all day yesterday. I couldn't believe it. I hadn't felt like that since September 11th. Today was just as bad. As I read more peoples' recollections of Wellstone, I realized what a terrible loss this was.

Wellstone was one of the few politicans I could feel really good about voting for. He cast some votes I disagreed with, for the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, the DMCA, the Patriot Act, and others. But by and large, I knew that he would look out for my interests and civil liberties. Often, he cast the sole dissenting vote against bad laws. He was the only Senator running for re-election to vote against Bush's Iraq resolution.

It made me proud to have a Senator who ruffled so many conservative feathers, who consistently voted and acted for what he believed in. I was looking forward to voting for him in November. The only thing we can do now is keep Wellstone's ideals alive. In his final campain ad, Wellstone said: "I don't represent the big oil companies, I don't represent the big pharmaceutical companies, I don't represent the Enrons of this world. But you know what, they already have great representation in Washington. It's the rest of the people that need it. I represent the people of Minnesota."

We'll miss you, Paul. But we'll keep fighting. I know it's what you would've wanted.

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